The ice is still singing under his skates. The rink shakes from the crowd's noise, so very loud. The lights are blinding, yet Yuuri can see flashes of colour overhead - bouquets of flowers and soft toys rain to the floor around him. His eyes are blurry from tears and exhaustion, but he still finds Viktor standing in the gate, arms open wide and face full of indescribable emotion. Yuuri's chest goes tight from something more than fighting to catch his breath. His whole body is buzzing, aching to feel Victor's arms closing in celebration around him.
He feels like nothing can touch him. The warmer air off the ice stings his cheeks as he flies into Viktor's embrace. It feels so incredible to be held like this. Nothing else could ever feel so good. For once, Yuuri is not too slow, too fat, too clumsy, not perfect enough to win. Viktor is murmuring encouragements in his ear, breath whooshing over the damp skin of Yuuri's neck. Yuuri feels like he's flying. Nothing could break his flow; he is not the boy who used to stumble gracelessly into the background, his only aim to get as far away from the kiss and cry as possible.
The noise is deafening, almost enough to drown out the violent thumping of his heart. Viktor's warm arm is around his shoulders, sides plastered together. The scoreboard takes up the whole of Yuuri's field of vision: 219.78, propelling him way out in first place. This time, this time he has the gold, and no one can take it away from him.
Viktor jumps up in excitement, taking Yuuri with him. They crash into each other, holding on as tight as they can. Yuuri thinks he might be crying. The noise, his emotions, Viktor's laughter against his body - they're all overwhelming on their own, but put together, Yuuri feels like he's having an out of body experience.
Which is why he can't explain how he hears Viktor's words, loud and clear as if they are the only two people in the room.
"I guess this means I can marry you after all."
Yuuri Katsuki, 2019 Grand Prix Final Champion, praised for his grace and astonishing precision footwork on the ice, trips over his own skate and falls flat on his face.
Some time later (Yuuri could not tell you how long it's been, exactly), he is sitting on the bench in the empty changing room, staring dazedly at his ring, when Yuri Plisetsky finds him. Because of course he does.
"What the hell was that, pig?" the kid snarls. "Can't believe anyone gave the gold to such a clutz."
"Sorry," Yuuri says automatically.
The tips of Yuri's leopard-patterned sneakers assault his peripheral vision. Yuuri can't find the strength to look up. All he can think about is the band of gold around his finger. He has looked at it so often, so many thousands of times in the past couple of years. For a long time now, it has felt like a part of him, branded into his skin; yet it's as if it has suddenly acquired half a ton of weight, drawing his attention like a lodestone. It has been his anchor from the moment Viktor slipped it onto his finger. Yuuri had thought it to be a part of him, a given value of warmth and reassurance and belonging, not something that had the power to blindside him like this.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Yuri demands. He would probably hate it if he knew that Yuuri has become accustomed to him enough to read the thread of concern under the sneer.
Yuuri opens his mouth. When nothing comes out, he closes it again. If he said, Viktor got to kiss the gold medal after all, but he seemed more interested in kissing my ring, Yuri would make barfing sounds, curse him out, and leave him alone. Which might actually be preferable to being stared at like some weirdo by the weirdest guy out there.
(Well no, that's not fair. No one can beat Otabek for weird. But he and Yuri are weirdly close.)
"Bah," Yuri grunts. Yuuri is sure he's rolling his eyes. "Come on, asshole, I want a drink."
"So go get one," Yuuri tells him tartly. The fog of numbness is starting to recede, irritation taking its place. Not altogether surprising, considering his current discourse companion.
"Phichit won't leave without you," Yuri admits, sulking. "Also, Chris is being weird with Viktor and I don't want to go with them."
Chris. Being weird with Viktor. A familiar flame of anger blooms in Yuuri's gut; for the first time, he thinks that maybe he should have paid more attention to it over the past couple of years.
"Are you growling?! What the fuck."
One of these days, Yuuri is going to take that little shit by the scruff of his neck and shake him.
Not right now, though. He has bigger fish to fry. Like the fact that while Yuuri had thought Viktor had been taking the piss that night in Barcelona, Viktor had been serious.
Marriage. Marriage to Viktor.
Okay. Truth time. Yuuri knows he has been the butt of many jokes regarding his pork cutlet bowl obsession. That the mocking about his eros being about food will never, ever die down. But the thing is. Yuuri does not have the first clue about what eros is. He has never been in love. He has never fancied anyone, beyond the objective 's/he's cute'. As for sex… Hah. Why on earth would he bother with something he feels this ambiguous about? Skating. Food. Winning. These are things that make Yuuri happy. Sex is… weird. And messy. And vaguely terrifying.
Except… Except. Viktor has always been the exception to Yuuri's mostly ordered world. Even when he was turning it upside down and shaking it to dislodge the cobwebs and apathy, Viktor had been the one steady thing that resonated through Yuuri's personal history. He was already Yuuri's anchor, his rock. Yuuri has loved him for what feels like all of his life. Would it really be so different, being married to him?
But Viktor likes sex. Everybody and their grandmother knows that Viktor likes hooking up. Hell, you only have to scroll through his instagram to get an eyeful or ten of Viktor in various compromising positions. For a Russian man in the public eye, Viktor is remarkably sanguine about what he likes and how he likes it. Yuuri is positive he and Chris have a long-standing ~arrangement.
"And now you look like you're going to cry. Seriously, I don't need this shit. How did I get beat by such a snivelly loser? Do you always bawl at Grand Prix Finals, or?"
"God, just fuck off, Yuri!"
Yuri takes a step back. Shit, now Yuuri feels like a world-class dick.
"Sorry," he sighs, already regretting the explosion of pent-up breath and frustration. "I didn't mean that. I'm still a little stressed out, I guess."
He looks up at last, catching the startled look in Yuri's green-blue eyes. His face quickly shutters again, settling into his preferred mask of angry boredom.
"Whatever," Yuri sniffs. "You coming or what?"
Or what, Yuuri thinks, but dutifully starts changing into civilian clothing. He never thinks much about what he's wearing, but for the first time ever, peeling off the skintight suit he stole from Viktor makes his insides squirm in a most curious manner. Yuuri isn't sure he likes it, so he rushes to get back in his usual jeans and sweatshirt. He catches the hint of a smile on Yuri's face, which makes him feel better even if it's under false pretenses. God knows why he likes the salty little shit, but he does.
"Finally," Yuri says, grabbing his wrist and tugging him out of the door. Yuuri barely manages to grab the strap of his backpack, the weight of which hits him in the stomach when Yuri comes to a sudden stop two feet down the corridor.
"Viktor. I thought you and Chris were busy drowning yourself in vodka and-"
"Yuri, you are such a pleasant child, I always thought. Don't spoil the impression, hm?"
It's amazing, the colours Yuri's face can turn with the proper motivation. It's like watching one of those kaleidoscope shapes sliding in formation.
"Bastard," he snarls, showing Viktor all of his teeth. Viktor just laughs, that same musical sound that always causes Yuuri to miss a step. He'll never forget the first time he heard it, innocently going about Mari's directions in his childhood home. Just like then, he feels his face heat and his heart speed up. Maybe he should have asked himself a while ago if that was a normal reaction.
"Yuri wants to go drinking," he blurts under Viktor's heavy, inquisitive gaze.
"Well that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen," Viktor muses mildly. "Should I come supervise?"
"No," they both yell, knee-jerk. Yuuri does not want Viktor there, not after the last time he apparently got drunk in his presence and asked him to come to Japan and be his coach. God only knows what possessed Viktor to agree. This time, Yuuri honestly shudders to think what might come out of his mouth.
Viktor looks disappointed. Yuuri catches his breath with how much seeing that expression on Viktor's face hurts. Viktor's eyes search his briefly, then fall away.
"Okay," he grins. Yuuri doesn't know how he knows that it's fake. "I guess I'll go out with Chris and Sara after all. See you for breakfast?"
Yuuri barely has time to nod before Yuri is dragging him away and out of the building. He shivers in the sudden cold, doesn't know whether it's his imagination or it really does sink into his bones.
Married to Viktor. It's crazy, but… He thinks he might like that.
"Yuuri! Rise and shine, my friend! It's your wedding day!"
Yuuri tries to jerk upright, is thwarted by the tangle of sheets around his limbs, and falls out of bed instead.
Maybe he'll just stay right here. The floor is pleasantly cool and doesn't move around like the rest of the room. Also, it's quiet.
Then he processes what he heard and sits up so fast, he cracks his head on the side of the bed.
"W-what??" he yells.
Phichit has no mercy or common decency, because he laughs in his face. Yuuri hears it in stereo, which is explained when he looks around and finds Sara and Minako-sensei on the verge of falling over, braced on each other's shoulders to keep upright.
"Why?" he complains to the unfeeling universe.
"Come on, Yuuri-kun, you shouldn't keep your fiance waiting," Minako-sensei manages through peals of amusement.
Oh, God. Did Yuuri-
He did, didn't he. He got drunk and told them everything. This is a disaster. There will be no end to this, ever. Maybe if he runs away to a country that has never seen ice or skating, it might be okay. Or maybe JJ will let him hide in the wilderness of Canada, just Yuuri and some friendly moose for company.
"Please leave me to die," he begs, clutching his throbbing head and trying to crawl under the bed for some peace and oblivion.
The door bangs open, leaving an imprint of the handle to join a constellation of other similarly inflicted gouges in the plaster.
"Is he up yet? The sooner we get him and Viktor hitched, the sooner they'll both leave Sara alone."
"Mickey!" Sara screeches, enraged.
This is not helping Yuuri's headache any. He drags his pillow off the bed and smooshes it over his ears. He wants Viktor, who can be a loud and obnoxious motherfucker but who always seems to know when Yuuri really, desperately needs quiet.
He blinks. Right, let's recap. He is in pain, his stomach is trying to revolt, there is a horde of figure skaters in his room intent on his demise, no one has even offered him coffee yet, and the first thing he wants is Viktor.
Oh. Uh. O-kay?
"What the fuck is going on here?" someone screams loud enough to get past the shield of feathers Yuuri is hiding under. Great. Just fucking great. All he needs is for someone to be stupid enough to tell Yu-
The pillow is yanked away from his head. "What do you mean, you're marrying Viktor??"
"Kill me please," Yuuri begs Otabek, who is lurking behind Yuri's heaving shoulders. Surely he can be relied on to give in to the rage always simmering beneath the surface and end Yuuri's suffering.
"Shan't," Otabek says, crossing his arms over his chest.
Yuri apparently hadn't known he was in the room, because he lets go of the collar of Yuuri's t-shirt, which he'd been trying to use to suffocate him, and prances over to his - friend? boyfriend? - who even knows anymore.
"Viktor is marrying the pig," he informs Otabek flatly.
"Yes," Phichit chimes in. "Isn't it wonderful? Yuuri, you minx, why did you lie to me the last time? I knew I couldn't be mistaken. The way you two look at each other, it's so obviously love."
Love, Yuuri can live with. Sex, Viktor can't live without. But maybe Yuuri could learn to like it. Maybe with Viktor, it won't feel so wrong. He thinks about the warm happiness he always feels with Viktor's arms around him. He never thought too much of it, because Viktor would never look at him twice, except to correct his position on the ice. Yuuri isn't blind. Viktor is undeniably beautiful, long shapely limbs, face like an angel, a good man underneath all that hair, and Yuuri loves him. Has woken up before with dream memories of skin sliding against his, knowing it was Viktor who held him tight, wanting to be as close to dream-Viktor as he could physically get...
Huh. It just might be that Yuuri has been a totally oblivious idiot for a long time.
"Don't just sit there gaping like a fish," Mickey grumbles. "Come on, chop chop. Do you have a suit? You can't get married in jeans, what are you, an animal?"
"He's a pig, how many times-"
"Yuri, come for a walk with me?"
Yuuri has never been more grateful for Otabek in his life.
"Sure," Yuri says, levering one last suspicious look in Yuuri's direction before leaving. There really is a God.
The smell of coffee wafts into the room. Yuuri follows it eagerly until his gaze lands on Chris, who is holding two giant coffees in his shovel-like hands and wearing a grin of horrible warning. Yuuri's spine shivers with a primal need to run, now.
"Yuuri, there you are! I wish to promise you most sincerely that I will not fuck Viktor again unless you give me the ok. He chose you, after all."
"Why is this happening," Yuuri whimpers. He wants to put his head in Viktor's lap and have him stroke his hair, like Viktor will do every once in a while when he has found Yuuri particularly deserving.
The fact that the cause of all the wrongness in his room right now is also the person Yuuri most wishes to see, and take comfort from against said wronging, does not escape him.
Has this really been happening all along? Has Yuuri fallen in love with Viktor when he wasn't looking?
"Hey, hey, a party going on without me? I'm hurt, guys, struck to the bone."
Yuuri gives his apparent fiance the evil eye. Viktor's response is to smile sunnily at him and wade through the mire of yelling people to reach Yuuri's side.
"Why are you on the floor, my dear?" he asks, crouching to Yuuri's level. Yuuri, struck silent from an endearment he has never heard directed at him before, is helpless to resist swaying into Viktor's touch when he strokes a hand through his hair just like Yuuri hoped he might. Holy God, Yuuri is so. Stupid.
Also, he thinks that if Viktor fucks Chris again, he might punch them both, which… Right.
"Too much noise?" Viktor asks sympathetically. He doesn't wait for a response, just gets up and pulls Yuuri to his feet before taking his wrist and towing him out of the room, barefoot and all. At least he's wearing pyjamas, Yuuri thinks blearily as he follows Viktor down the corridor and into Viktor's room. The door closes, blissfully cutting off the remaining clamour. Yuuri sags against the wall, gratitude making his knees weak.
Viktor looks at him for a long moment. Then he tsks, taking Yuuri's wrist again and nudging him to sit on Viktor's unmade bed. It's soft and inviting, and smells a little like Viktor's sleepy musk and traces of cologne. Fuck it, Yuuri thinks mutinously, before crawling between the sheets and snuggling into Viktor's pillow.
"This is all your fault," he mumbles against the cotton; Viktor makes a wounded sound, so Yuuri gives him the finger before pulling the covers over his head. "Making me all confused, joking about marriage." Suddenly angry, he throws the covers back off so he can glare at the object of his ire (and reluctant affection). "You're not a nice person, Viktor Nikiforov."
"Yuuri," Viktor says, face sagging into an upset pout. "Don't be cruel. I wasn't joking. I thought you knew that."
Yuuri stares at him. "How am I supposed to know that? You've never mentioned it since that time in Barcelona, and you were obviously joking then. I know you don't think of me that way, so just stop with whatever game you're playing, okay? It isn't funny to me."
Viktor is staring at him wide-eyed, looking more taken aback than Yuuri has ever seen him.
"You think I'm messing you around?" he demands, forehead scrunching. It is not adorable at all. "Yuuri, damn it, I've never been so serious about anyone in my life."
Yuuri gapes. "You literally sleep around with every third person you meet."
"I haven't slept with anyone since October."
God in heaven, he's serious. Yuuri can feel his eyes going round with shock. "W-what?" he stutters.
Viktor runs a hand through his hair, blowing out a frustrated breath. "I haven't-I've only hooked up with Chris and Mila over the past few summers. Never during the season, because when you won gold, I wanted to be able to… Well. Do this, I suppose."
This can't be happening. How the hell did Yuuri not know about this? Viktor hasn't been acting any different since the first time he came to Japan. Or at least, Yuuri didn't think he had…
"You mean that," he says slowly. Viktor opens his mouth to yell at him, but he must process Yuuri's tone, because he pauses and just says yes.
Yuuri swallows. His heart is pounding in his chest; his whole body feels flushed. His fingers tingle, and so does his face. He sits up slowly to level with Viktor's eyes, so blue and wide and… hopeful?
Yuuri wants to kiss him with a desperation he has never felt outside the rink. Oh. So-He is in love with Viktor.
"Do you… Love me?" he asks shyly. His fingers twist in the sheets. He's nervous as hell. He'd thought he was done being nervous around Viktor, but… Surprise.
In response, Viktor reaches over and cups his hand over Yuuri's cheek. "You're so dumb," he says warmly. Yuuri should be annoyed, but - Viktor kind of has a point.
"That's not a yes," he points out - Viktor can't think he's easy for him or something.
Viktor's eyes narrow, because he's still a demanding diva despite having been Yuuri's coach for years. The sight is so familiar that it sends Yuuri laughing helplessly, which makes Viktor's eyes narrow even more pointedly and his thumb dig into the edge of Yuuri's jaw in punishment.
"I don't know why I-" Viktor starts complaining, and Yuuri leans forward and presses their mouths together.
It's not perfect. Viktor tries to keep talking for a couple of seconds before his brain catches up to current events, and his teeth dig painfully into Yuuri's mouth, and then Viktor freezes for another long moment, enough to have Yuuri's ever-present anxiety flare and start to berate him for being an idiot - but then, finally, Viktor makes a pained, desperate sound, and oh.
Yuuri has in fact been kissed before. It was always very brief before he jerked away, and it was never anything worth writing home about. He is starting to revise his previous assumptions about kisses, however, because if this is what a real kiss feels like - then no, Yuuri hasn't ever been kissed before. Viktor tips his head a little to the side and his lips move, soft and cautious, asking for the okay even though it was Yuuri who kissed him first. It feels exceptionally nice, even better when Viktor's hand slides up his face and into his hair. Yuuri makes a happy sound and tries to imitate the way Viktor opens his mouth just a little, enough to taste, and-
Yeah. The sound that just crawled out of Yuuri's chest comes as a bit of a surprise. He didn't think he had those kinds of sounds in him. The ring on Viktor's right hand catches the tip of Yuuri's ear, and oh, there's that sound again. Yuuri wants to, needs to be closer, now.
Which is how he finds himself sprawled on top of Viktor, clutching at his shirt and looking down at his face with a mixture of trepidation and greed. Viktor's eyes had gone wide with shock for the split second before he realised what was going on; he grins up at Yuuri, full of delight and mischief.
"Wow!" he manages, before Yuuri glares and kisses him again. He feels hot, skin so sensitive that he squirms with it, which makes Viktor gasp in the most delightful way. His hands are all over Yuuri, stroking up his back, threading into his hair, creeping down to his ass and under his shirt. Yuuri is definitely sweating now, can feel beads of moisture form over his sternum and on the back of his neck. Viktor's fingers dig into his skin, pressing him closer to all that lean muscle even as Viktor's tongue slides tentatively across his lower lip. Yuuri gasps, shocked at the wave of pleasure that crests in his lower belly and makes his hips jerk - jerk into Viktor's, and oh, oh God, that feels so good that he does it again and again as Viktor moves his hands to his ass and takes Yuuri's lip in his mouth and sucks, and then he's closing his teeth on it and tugging-
Yuuri thrashes helplessly, his body going stiff and clenching low in his gut, down to his balls and- Oh.
He flops bonelessly on top of Viktor and pants into his shoulder. He can't look at him.
Damn it, he has to look. He has to know.
The smile he finds on Victor's face is huge and insufferably gleeful. "Did you just- You did! You absolutely did, I knew you liked me, of course you like me, I'm so hot, everyone thinks I'm hot-"
Yuuri glares and pokes him in the ribs. Viktor, the bastard, isn't even ticklish, just wraps his arms around Yuuri and cackles some more. Yuuri is going to be stuck with this dick for the rest of his life.
"No, you moron," he grouches, making a face. "I love you."
Viktor freezes. His eyes go round with shock, so intense that it makes something inside Yuuri clench. Then they start getting wet, and oh God-
"Are you crying?" Yuuri demands, torn between vindication and concern. Did he get it wrong? Did Viktor not-
"Yuuri," Viktor says, voice shaky, and yep, he's definitely crying now. "You're amazing."
Yuuri flushes, but before he can reply, Viktor is kissing him again and holding him so gently, as if Yuuri is something precious to him, and Yuuri's chest cracks wide open.
Viktor pulls back to put his face in Yuuri's neck and hug him tight enough to make his ribs creak. "I'm so happy," he whispers against his skin, and honestly - yeah. That.
"Me too," Yuuri whispers, and hugs him back.
Yuuri curses silently again and stops to roll up the legs of his sweats one more time. Viktor isn't even that much taller than him! Except apparently that height difference is mostly leg.
Hmm. That's not an entirely unpleasant thought.
Yeah, so he had to borrow a pair of sweats from his fiance, because his were… Well. Least said, soonest mended. He feels all loose and warm and happy, and he can't for the life of him banish the stupid smile from his face. Turns out, sex with the right person is - not terrible. Not terrible at all. He grins even wider when he remembers Viktor sacked out across the bed, sweaty hair stuck to his face and chest heaving with exertion, flushed all the way down to the vee of his hips where his (Yuuri might be biased here, but) very pretty cock lay spent.
It feels strange, not flinching away from the thought. Yuuri prods at it like a sore tooth, trying to work out if it's him that's changed, or… He tries to picture someone else like this - like, JJ! -Oh holy fuck, no. Nope, a world of no thanks. But Viktor - well, that sends a tingle of warmth down his spine again. So it's just Viktor who is the exception. ...Okay then. Cool. Yuuri can (very happily) do that.
Mind settled, Yuuri proceeds on his way, fighting a losing battle not to hum out loud. It's a different kind of elation than feeling the gold medal ribbon slide against his neck, but - shock! horror! - Yuuri thinks he might like this better.
"Aha! Caught in the act!" Chris declares, jumping out from around the corner to point a finger at his chest.
Yuuri recoils. "Good God, don't do that!" He presses a hand to his racing heart. "No one needs to be surprised by your ugly face."
Chris gasps in affront, clutching his hands to his chest. "You monster! You've been spending way too much time with Plisetsky."
Yuuri rolls his eyes and makes to walk past him, only to be stopped by an arm across his shoulders.
"Not so fast," Chris drawls, sticking his nose about an inch from Yuuri's and looking him over suspiciously. Yuuri makes a face and jerks back, but by then Chris' face has cleared and he looks like the cat who got the cream and the canary. "You sealed the deal!" he declares loudly, then yells over his shoulder, "Yo! They've fucked, crisis over!"
Yuuri's face is crimson, he is sure.
"I hate you so much," he tells Chris sincerely, but Chris only laughs and claps his shoulder hard enough to push Yuuri into the wall behind him.
"They have? It's true?" People have started poking their heads out of various rooms, so Yuuri does the only reasonable thing and runs away. Viktor can deal with this shit, he decides, shutting the door in a delighted Sara's face.
"Go away! I'm going to shower!" he yells, then strips his clothes and walks into the bathroom.
He stares at himself in the mirror before he gets into the stall. Should he look different? He's flushed, though more likely from the recent embarrassment than lingering pleasure. He looks the same as always, which is kind of reassuring, except- Is that a love bite on his collar bone? Did Viktor give him a hickey? Yuuri is going to kill him. It's bad enough that everyone knows he's Viktor's through and through-
But that goes both ways, doesn't it. If Yuuri is marked as Viktor's, then Viktor is his, too. Yuuri's. His fiance, and soon his husband. The ring he's been wearing suddenly tells a different story, bears a different meaning altogether. Maybe Viktor has been his for a lot longer than Yuuri could have imagined. Sneaky bastard, always surprising people.
Yuuri kisses the band of gold and smiles to himself as he starts the water and sets it to hot. He can let Viktor get away with it this one time.